The Pentagon Papers was a leak from Daniel Ellsberg. It helped de-legitimize the Vietnam War.
Deep Throat was Mark Felt, a top FBI official. He gave Woodward and Bernstein the deep background on the Watergate scandal.
Edward Snowden leaked information about US government surveillance programs.
Chelsea Manning leaked documents and video relating to Iraqi air strikes, diplomatic cables, and Gitmo, most of which did not put the US in good light.
Vice President Cheney outed Valerie Plame as a CIA operative in order to exact revenge on her husband, a critic of the Bush Iraq War policy.
To most people, one of more of these people are heroes — one of the “good guys”. But they were all leakers.
Everybody constructs reasons for leaks they like and leaks they don’t like. But it is hard to come up with a non-hypocritical reason for distinguishing “good leaks” from “bad leaks”.
We’re at a remarkable point in history where the president accuses his own intelligence community of working against him, as exhibited by his tweetstorm this morning:
What sounds hollow about all this is that Trump was totally fine — in fact he PRAISED — Wikileaks when it printed the John Podesta emails.
I know, I know. The Podesta emails weren’t technically leaks. They were hacks by the Russians. But doesn’t that make it WORSE? Think about it. The President is fine with Russian intelligence stealing secured information and making it public — in fact he encouraged it! — but he’s upset about “illegal” leaks from American intelligence sources?
It really does beg the question — whose side is the President on? At best, it cements the notion that he is in the pocket of Russia.